- February 8 2012
All-around solid boots
Width - I have a narrow foot, and the regular width works fine. That said, if your feet are normal width, you should still get the standard width. Breathability - Great. Often with Gore-Tex boots/shoes in any season, when my feet sweat a bit, the moisture has a hard time escaping, thus making my feet a bit clammy and cold. Gore-Tex is only breathable to a point. With the leather lining, you get a nice smooth interior and a noticeable decrease in clamminess. Support - Great for a light/midweight hiker. When I try to roll my ankle, it doesn't happen, unlike some overly-soft, less-supportive high top hikers out there. Traction - Excellent, typical of a Vibram hiking sole, for front-to-back, side-to-side, and diagonal gripping on various surfaces. Usage & Look - I bought these because with their classic, uniformly brown leather appearance, I can wear them to work and play every day, to look like a professional adult but also be able to walk miles and spontaneously scramble up a tree or some rough terrain when I want to. This way, I can wear my go-to hiking boots all the time and be ready for almost anything. If I'm going backpacking for days, I'll wear heavier duty Gore-Tex boots for extra support and waterproofing. But if I'm going for a 1-2 day hike, I will check the forecast and trail conditions: With only light rain and minimal trail wetness/stream crossings, I will certainly wear these. Comfort - Very good and getting better. After a week, they are well broken in, maybe 65%. That said, I owned the low-top Gore-Tex version of these boots, and they broke in to an unexpectedly high level of comfort*, so I expect these to achieve the same after another few weeks. Before full break-in, the metal shoelace lugs may press a bit, but I recall that feeling going away once broken in. Durability/Construction - Based on my last pair, excellent. All stitching held and leather remained strong. Lubrication is recommended to maintain leather's suppleness, moisture, and appearance. I completely wore through the traction in the soles, as expected from heavy usage and countless miles on and off pavement. *Cons - This may be related to my foot in particular. With the aforementioned low tops, I felt some strain in only my left toe during foot roll that lightly stressed the toe for the duration of usage. This strain remained for months after I stopped using the boots and then went away. I feel a barely noticeable similarity with these boots in both of my big toes - It will probably go away once broken in, but I am keeping my eye on it. Nothing to cause too much concern. Plus, I believe Altrec/Lowa backs up their product if it it really doesn't work for you.